ACCOMPLISHED winemaker Sandrine Gimon will be sorely missed as she exits the region after 25 years dedicated to Rymill Coonawarra.
Growing up around her wine making uncle and observing his talents, Ms Gimon decided it was a profession she would like to follow and started her studies in France with biology and bio-chemistry as subjects.
Following her studies, Ms Gimon started work at an Australian company in the South of France for two years.
The talented winemaker travelled around the world, working on and showcasing her skills.
“I have travelled to Romania and specifically studied Champagne,” Ms Gimon said.
In 2001, she worked in Western Australia in a vastly different climate to that of the South East.
Moving closer to the region in 2005, Ms Gimon undertook a vintage at Stonehaven, Padthaway which prided itself for its merlot.
Finally Ms Gimon arrived in Coonawarra where she started her impressive 13 years in the area.
Working at Rymill Coonawarra, Ms Gimon enjoyed the cool climate vineyards, specialising in cabenet sauvignon and shiraz.
“I was attracted to Penola as Rymill offered a lot of diversity and showcased great sparkling wine,” Ms Gimon said.
“I also appreciated it being family owned and having its own vineyard.”
A typical day in the Coonawarra vineyard consists of ensuring all aspects of the winery are in check, observing the fermenting process and venturing into the vineyard to discover what to pick for the following days.
When reflecting on her extensive wine making experience, Ms Gimon said she brought French wine making influences with her to Australia.
“I do bring a French influence, but not consciously – it’s just part of who I am,” Ms Gimon said.
“I do not get up in the morning and say I’m going to make a French cabernet sauvignon, you just find something that will work with the grapes your picking and the style of wine you want to make.”
Major highlights of Ms Gimon’s time in the region were the people she had met and Penola’s strong community spirit.
“The people have been the highlights through the years and as it is a small community everyone knows each other,” Ms Gimon said.
She has since relocated to Melbourne to begin work in the Yarra Valley.